Art Industry News: A Roman Emperor’s Long-Lost Finger Has Been Found Inside the Louvre + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, the V&A's director defends his controversial Venice Architecture Biennale project and Vanity Fair gets a peek inside Ed Ruscha's studio.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Thursday, May 31.


How Ed Ruscha Gets High on Words – The 80-year-old artist gets the profile treatment in Vanity Fair ahead of four major exhibitions and a new wave of work to be revealed this summer. He also offers insight into his artistic process, which includes filling notebooks with words that might end up in his paintings. Not everything makes the cut, however. “If I get too high, well, then I start writing things down,” he says. “The next day you say, ‘This is foolish. It’s so amateurish.'” (Vanity Fair)

Library of Congress Gets Multimillion-Dollar Art Gift – The Baltimore-based comic-book distributor Stephen Geppi is donating more than 3,000 items from his vast holdings of comics and popular art to the Washington, DC, institution. The gift includes the original storyboards that document the creation of Mickey Mouse and is the largest donation of comic books ever made to the library. (Washington Post)

Constantine’s Lost Digit Discovered in the Louvre – Someone give this conservator a raise! Eagle-eyed expert Aurelia Azema discovered that a bronze fragment in the Louvre’s collection long believed to be a toe was, in fact, an index finger. After further research, specialists confirmed that the finger fit the hand of a colossal bronze statue of Emperor Constantine in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. It remains unclear how the fragments were separated. (The Art Newspaper)

V&A Director Hits Back at Anti-Gentrification Critics – The V&A’s decision to put a fragment of a now-demolished London housing project on view at the Venice Architecture Biennale has attracted criticism both the right and left. In an op-ed, the museum’s director Tristram Hunt strikes back, rejecting criticism by what he calls “keyboard warriors” and arguing, “I see the role of the museum not as a political force, but as a civic exchange: curating shared space for unsafe ideas.” (TAN)​


A Flotilla of US Dealers Head to FIAC – The French fair has announced the lineup for its upcoming edition this fall—and it includes a hefty American presence. A quarter of the dealers hail from the US, including emerging galleries like Chicago’s Document Space and New York’s Queer Thoughts alongside such established names as Gagosian and Blum & Poe. (ARTnews)

Demand for Female Artists at Auction Grows – A new survey of auction sales and online searches by Barnebys found that demand for work by women is on the rise. Artists on the upswing include Nathalie Djurberg, Petra Cortright, and Jenny Saville. (Reuters)

Drake’s Warty Portrait Heads to Bonhams – A portrait recently identified as an early original portrait of Elizabethan sea captain Sir Francis Drake is heading to auction with a $666,000 high estimate. The painting, which includes a prominent wart on the admiral’s nose, had been on loan to the National Trust, which owns Drake’s home in Devon. (The Times)

How George Condo Became a Must-Have – Condo’s secondary market is as hot as Hades. His auction record is now north of $6 million and any new works that “trickle” out of his studio are earmarked for museums or collectors on a waiting list. So owners are cashing in on in their Condos at the auction houses. (Artsy)​



Pinchuk Prize Jury Announced – The all-star jury for the the biannual $100,000 Future Generation Art Prize, given to an artist under 35, includes MOCA’s former chief curator Helen Molesworth, Guggenheim curator Pablo León de la Barra, the Royal Academy’s artistic director Tim Marlow, Pompidou chief curator Christine Macel, and the president of the Sharjah Art Foundation, Hoor Al Qasimi. (Press release)

Artist-Gallerist Colin Jellicoe Has Died – The charismatic artist and dealer has died at age 75. Since the late 1960s, he directed the Colin Jellicoe Gallery in Manchester, placing a focus on giving overlooked female artists their due. (Guardian)

South London Gallery Crowdfunds to Open Fire Station – To fund the last leg of its transformation of a disused fire station into an exhibition and studio space, the gallery is using the Art Fund’s crowdfunding platform, Art Happens, to raise £25,000 ($33,000) in 30 days. The crowdfunding is part of an effort to raise the final $465,000 of the $5.3 million project before it opens on September 20. (Press release)



Getty Acquires Camille Claudel Bronze – The LA museum has acquired Claudel’s rare bronze sculpture Torso of a Crouching Woman. The plaster cast of the work has been destroyed and there is only one other bronze cast in existence. It is only the sixth work by the French artist to be acquired by an American museum and will go on view this summer. (Art Market Monitor)

Sculptor Quizzes Obama About His Dog – The Chicago-based sculptor David Standifer is footing the bill to create a bronze sculpture of the 44th US President. But before he moves into the casting phase, he needs input from the man himself. He plans to ask the Chicago native whether he would prefer the Obama family’s dog Bo be included as a puppy or a full-grown dog. (ABC7)

Infinity Room Heads to deCordova – Locals should get ready to wait in line. Kusama’s Where the Lights in My Heart Go (2016) will go on show outdoors at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Massachusetts between July 5 and October 28. The infinity mirror room is on loan from the collection of Lauren and Derek Goodman. (ARTnews)

See Friesland’s 11 Artists’ Fountains – To celebrate its year as the European Capital of Culture, Leeuwarden-Friesland commissioned 11 artists, including Cornelia Parker, Mark Dion, and Allora & Calzadilla, to build 11 fountains in homage to the 11 historic cities in the low-lying region in the north of the Netherlands. Check out some of the water works here. (The Quietus)



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